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DVD Review: Pokemon Battle Dimension, Volume 5

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Pokemon began as a Japanese video game franchise in 1996. In the game, trainers capture creatures called Pokemon. These trainers battle their Pokemon against those of other trainers and try to learn as much as they can about these little pocket monsters. After an explosion of popularity in the late '90s and a successful American crossover campaign, Pokemon has continued to produce lucrative video games while exploring new media options.

The Pokemon cartoon series has spawned over 600 episodes, multiple spin-offs, and several feature length films. The cartoon series follows the protagonist of the original video game, Ash Ketchum, as he and some of his fellow trainers travel throughout the land capturing Pokemon and striving to win prestigious gym battles. The main antagonists in the series are members of Team Rocket, a group set on using Pokemon to achieve world domination.

Pokemon Battle Dimension Volume 5 features nine episodes from the eleventh season of the Pokemon animated series.

The first episode is called “Up Close and Personable.” Ash, Brock, Dawn, and Pikachu are at a Pokemon Summer Academy as students. Their professor tasks them with observing a water-type Pokemon in the nearby lake and giving a report on it.

The main antagonists, Team Rocket, have also targeted this Pokemon Summer Academy. James and Meowth are employed as janitors, and Jessie disguises herself and enrolls as a student. Pokemon are going missing near the lake, and Ash and his friends are forced to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Another episode that takes place at the Pokemon Summer Academy is “Ghoul Daze.” The students are taught how to deal with ghost-type Pokemon, and students are placed into pairs to search for a treasure. One of Ash’s classmates, Conway, encounters a rare Pokemon while searching for the treasure.

Ash and his friends eventually leave the Summer Pokemon Academy and continue their adventures in the land of Sinnoh. The episode “A Lean Mean Team Rocket Machine!” has a nostalgic feel to it as Team Rocket, in an attempt to get back to their roots, try to steal all of the Pokemon from a Pokemon Center.

In “Playing the Leveling Field” Ash has an unofficial battle with the Hearthorne City Gym Leader, Fantina. Fantina only uses one Pokemon against three of Ash’s, but the results of the battle come as somewhat of a surprise.

“Doc Brock” has Brock away on an errand for most of the episode. Pikachu falls ill, but Ash and Dawn realize that they don’t know how to heal Pikachu. Worse still, they are far away from the nearest Pokemon center. Without Brock around to use his first aid skills, they are faced with a challenge of nursing their Pokemon to health without the proper knowledge.

With nine episodes in total, this set of episodes showcases some fun battles any fan of Pokemon ought to enjoy. My eight-year-old cousin is a huge fan of Pokemon, and this will make a perfect gift for him. Unfortunately no special features are present on Pokemon Battle Dimension Vol. 5, but that certainly doesn’t mean this release is not a viable option for any Pokemon fans you know.

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